My Approach to Therapy
Therapy provides the time and space to reflect and gain insight into past and present experiences, thoughts, and feelings. In my practice I create a warm and accepting environment where people feel safe and supported expressing and exploring their emotions, telling their stories, and growing personally and emotionally. Using an integrated approach based on the specific needs of each person, the focus is building upon existing strengths and adding new coping skills while reducing distress.
I specialize in working with older adolescents (17 years and older) and young adults and the wide range of issues that are faced in one’s late teens, 20′ and 30’s.
These areas include identity development, life transitions, change (both expected and unexpected), identity formation, self-esteem, depression, anxiety, fears, relationships, stress-management, body-image issues, eating issues (e.g. binge eating), anger, grief and loss, and parenting. I also see individuals as they pursue their own personal exploration and growth.
In my practice I also specialize in parenting issues across the lifespan. I work with parents and caregivers of infants, young children, teens, and young adults. We work together to foster an age-appropriate and successful parent-child relationship. We focus on understanding the developmental stage their child is in, the unique issues faced during that particular stage, and the best parenting strategies to support their child.
Many of my clients are GLBT or questioning. In supporting my clients who are GLBTQ I am knowledgeable in: (1) human sexuality across the lifespan; (2) the impact of social stigma on sexual orientation and identity development; (3) the “coming out” process and how such variables as age, gender, and religion, may influence this process; (4) same-sex relationship dynamics; (5) family-of-origin relationships; (6) the struggles with spirituality and religious group membership; and (7) coping strategies for successful functioning.
I am trained and experienced in doing one-on-one therapy with adolescents and adults. I use an integrative approach which is informed by: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), solution-focused therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and family systems.
Therapy sessions last about 50 minutes. Depending on the issues being addressed and the stage in therapy (beginning or later) sessions are scheduled weekly, every other week, monthly, or as needed and desired.
Our first few sessions will involve an evaluation of your needs. By the end of the evaluation, I will be able to offer you some first impressions of what our work will include and a treatment plan to follow, if you decide to continue with therapy.
You should evaluate this information along with your own opinions of whether you feel comfortable working with me. Therapy involves a large commitment of time, money, and energy, so you should be very careful about the therapist you select.
Finally, I love what I do. I thoroughly enjoy every day working as a therapist in private practice. Building respectful relationships with my clients is at the core of my work. It is an honor and a privilege to work with my clients during their good times, their most difficult of times, and everything in between.
I look forward to meeting you!
My Experience and Training
I am a licensed doctoral-level psychologist with more than 15 years of clinical experience. I am licensed in the state of Minnesota (LP#4177) and am a member of the Minnesota Psychological Association and Minnesota Women in Psychology.
I earned my Bachelors in Psychology from the University of Vermont (1990). My Master’s degree and PhD are both from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s School Psychology program (1994 & 1997). I completed my clinical training in Maryland at Johns Hopkins Hospital followed by a post-doctoral fellowship in University of Minnesota’s Division of Pediatrics and Adolescent Health.
My clinical interests, experience, and training extend from adolescence into young and mid-adulthood. My doctoral degree has trained me as both a scientist and practitioner. This means that I am skilled in applying research findings to the real world and that my work is informed by current science. I will translate research findings into language and examples my clients can relate to and understand.
The settings I have worked in are varied and include inpatient and outpatient medical settings, schools, community health centers, and most recently in private practice (since 2008). I have taught graduate and undergraduate courses in psychology and learning, led therapy groups, published in scientific journals, presented at scientific conferences, and consulted with a local toy company on childhood development and toy design.
When not at work, you will find me running outside (yes, even in the winter), spending time with friends and family, baking (cookies mostly), and if time permits, enjoying a good novel. One my favorite new books this year was Ann Patchett’s latest novel Commonwealth. But really it has been a year of re-reads for me with my favorites including: 100 Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera both by Gabriel Garcia Márquez; Emma, Pride and Prejudice, and Persuasion all by Jane Austen; and Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling.